Keys to Memphis Grizzlies’ win: The Grizzlies’ defense on Steph
Dillon Brooks is one of the irrationally confident guys that everyone needs on their team. The most dangerous attribute a player can have is confidence. It can strike fear in your opponent and help a player play above their average. It can also be a detriment, sometimes you don’t want the irrationally confident guy to let it fly every touch.
In Friday’s play-in game, the irrational confidence worked in favor of the irrationally confident player, in which case was Dillon Brooks. Brooks’ defense on Steph Curry was the difference in the game. He’s so aggressive and similar to former San Antonio Spur legend Bruce Bowen in that he’s going to get called for a lot of fouls but it’s all because of the relentlessness of his on and off-ball defense.
It’s really easy to look at the box score of this game and say, “Dude Curry had like 40 points, Brooks got taken to school, what are you talking about?” Although Curry did rack up 39 points, Brooks made him work for everything. Give Curry credit, he made a ton of incredible shots, but that was the best I’ve ever seen a team in the Grizzlies and individually Dillon Brooks guard Stephen Curry.
There were many situations in the end where Memphis would jump the ball screen and force the ball out of his hands. A lot of times this led to a tough contested shot at the rim for Draymond who doesn’t look to score, or an open three to non-shooter Kent Bazemore. If that’s the results of your defensive rotations against the Warriors, you’ve executed very well.
The last thing about the great defense the Grizzlies played on Friday, the turnovers they forced. Golden State turned the ball over 21 times. Draymond and Steph combine for 13 of those 21 turnovers. Some of the turnovers were just sloppy but generally speaking, the Grizzlies were like a pack of wild dogs who were also disciplined enough to force the Warriors into tough passes the lead to turnovers.
Morant’s performance on offense I think won them the game in overtime, but the Grizzlies’ grit and grind style of play were what kept Memphis in the driver’s seat all game long.